The temptation to surround yourself with people who agree with you is strong. Especially when it comes to business decisions and trying to move forward with company plans. Keep in mind, however, that it isn’t the “yes men” who inspire innovation. It’s the people who stand out. The thorns. Those who ask, “Why?” And while it might seem like a great idea to “just get along” when it comes to work, keep your head down and follow the plow, true change happens when you go against the grain. Being a troublemaker in business is a good thing. A lot to be said about the troublemakers who drive you crazy in your office.
1. Troublemakers challenge our opinions. Rather than simply agreeing with how everyone sees things, troublemakers make us think about our opinions. Whether to defend them or simply make them concrete, that type of critical thinking isolates our key themes and builds stronger arguments. Troublemakers can be the key to figuring out that your opinion isn’t as strong as you think, and might help you save face while presenting to clients.
2. Troublemakers also tell us when we’re wrong. No one is perfect, but it’s harder to see mistakes when we’re surrounded by those who agree with us. Someone standing up and telling us how our thinking is flawed is uncomfortable, but necessary. Without those discussions, we set ourselves up to miss growth opportunities that can lead to mistakes in front of a client — a much bigger problem.
3. When our peers pander to what they think we want to hear, the discussions lack the kind of frank honesty that invites creative thoughts and ideas. Think of frankness as the spice that gives our ideas flavor. Presenting beige, watered-down content feels safe, but invites oblivion. While clients might think they want to play it safe, safety is a quick path toward falling out of favor, especially in the world of social media. People want spice. Troublemakers bring the spice.
4. The most important thing about troublemakers (and something that most of us never think about) is that they give genuine praise in a world where that rarely exists. When our friends and those who agree with us tell us we’re doing a great job, it’s easy to feel as if that praise is empty. But when someone who challenges our thinking gives praise, you know that praise is real. It’s earned. Empty praise for the sake of kindness is nice, but nothing in the world feels as good as genuine praise.
Troublemakers drive us crazy. It’s easy to become aggravated with those who go against popular opinion. But without them, we lose the essence that makes our industry unique. More than that, we should all strive to be troublemakers. We should stop worrying about offending with our disagreements and instead accept that our opinions, even if they differ from the pack, will make the people we work with stronger in the long run. That’s not saying we should be mean or disrespectful, but when we have thoughts that vary, we should never be afraid to share them.
Are you looking for troublemakers to help make your business stronger? We’d love to help! Social Factor is your digital agency with social at the core, and we’re here to help you grow.